The Green Arrow and the Canaries Spinoff Could Make for a Stake-Less Arrowverse

Welcome to the future?
Photo: Sergei Bachlakov (The CW)

The CW is looking to jumpstart its latest Arrowverse series with an upcoming episode of Arrow that serves as a backdoor pilot for a TV show about the Canaries. We have a bit more info on the plot now, which takes place 20 years in the future, ensuring that nothing else that happens in the Arrowverse will feel like it matters.

Executive producer Marc Guggenheim announced late last year that this potential spinoff series would indeed take place in the 2040 future we’ve seen in Arrow’s recent storylines. He wrote, “The #Arrow spinoff takes place in 2040. We already spoiled that Oliver is dead by that time, so his not appearing in Arrow 809 (the spinoff episode) isn’t affected by what happens in Crisis (or, for that matter, the series finale).”

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Deadline now has a synopsis for “Green Arrow and the Canaries,” the penultimate episode of Arrow. It’s not only helping to cap off the series, now in its eighth and final season, it’s also designed to launch a Canaries focused TV show (it’s not clear what the new show might be called yet) starring Oliver and Felicity’s currently time-displaced daughter Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara).

In this potential series, Mia—now going by Mia Queen, unless that was a typo—will have returned to 2040 with a bigger and brighter future ahead of her (I’m not sure how she can have “everything she could have ever wanted,” as the synopsis claims if both of her parents are dead). But a kidnapping case brings Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) to her front door, convincing Mia to suit up once again. Here’s the full synopsis:

It’s the year 2040 in Star City and Mia Queen (Katherine McNamara) has everything she could have ever wanted. However, when Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) suddenly show up in her life again, things take a shocking turn and her perfect world is upended. Laurel and Dinah are tracking a kidnapping victim with direct ties to Mia and they need her help. Knowing it will change everything, Mia can’t help but be a hero and she, Laurel and Dinah suit up once again to save the city. Tara Miele directed the episode written by Beth Schwartz & Marc Guggenheim & Jill Blankenship & Oscar Balderrama.

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I understand the desire to return Mia Smoak-Queen to her own time, as well as have a show that takes place in the near future (think of all the cool futuristic gadgets!), but this seems like an odd idea. The main reason is this: None of the Arrowverse’s potentially world-ending crises will mean jack shit anymore, because there will always be a show in the future to let us know that things are going to be okay.

Why should we worry if the Flash thinks someone is going to try and detonate a nuclear bomb in Star City, or Supergirl’s learned of an apocalyptic scenario heading to Earth 1? Mia will be on an hour later to let us know that didn’t actually happen. Showing a constantly okay future removes all stakes from the past. Sure we’ve got Legends of Tomorrow, who can move back and forth in time, but their shenanigans typically don’t conflict with what’s going on in the other shows (and they’ll make a fourth-wall-breaking joke if they do). Besides, for the most part, that crew tends to stay in the past.

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Having a show constantly set in the future will serve as a constant reminder that there will always be a future. It’s one thing to believe things are going to turn out all right—they’re superheroes, they’re probably going to save the day. However, just like having Black Lightning’s family killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths proves that they’re going to restore the planets by the crossover’s end (because they have another season coming up), having a show set in the future takes away any fear that, at any point, there won’t be a future for them to save.

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Of course, there is a chance that the episode will take place in 2040, not the series, and that Mia Smoak-Queen would travel back to present day for the actual show to help lead the team in 2020 Star City. We’ll just have to wait and see.

“Green Arrow and the Canaries” airs on CW January 21. Before that, we have to wrap up Crisis on Infinite Earths, which returns for parts four and five with Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow on January 14.

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Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.